Lost Plays Database and Paul's Cross


Paul's Cross Pulpit and Churchyard with Bookshop (in brown)
In November of 2012, Dabbs joined the list of contributors for the Lost Plays database, hosted by University of Melbourne, Australia. Lost Plays is devoted to recovering information about lost dramatic works in the early modern period in London, before, during, and after, the Shakespearean period.

Dabbs became interested in this project during his research on the Paul's Cross preaching pulpit, positioned at the northeast corner of St Paul's during the medieval and early modern periods. Dabbs' holds that the Paul's Cross Churchyard in the City of London became a  public amphitheatre driven by new print information during the early Elizabethan period. The churchyard echoed broadcasts from the Paul's Cross pulpit, both from sermons and public proclamations. These events were, for the first time in English-speaking history, fueled by print works distributed to common readers from the immediate booksellers that came to surround the pulpit. These echoes of print began to re-echoed into more print sold from the same shops.

Wenceslas Hollar: Open Air Globe Theatre
Almost fifteen years before Shakespeare's plays were performed, public amphitheatres, just beyond the city limits but still close by, were built to host plays that echoed new print from Paul's Cross Churchyard in the manner of the dramatic sermon events held at Paul's Cross Churchyard. Dabbs thinks that the churchyard became an auditory and creative model for the more compressed, open-air theatre before and during Shakespeare's time.

His research has uncovered information on plays that were performed but never preserved during the early Elizabethan period. In sum they are crucial to the history of Shakespearean drama and drama of the early modern period.

Dabbs has recently published on this topic and presented on the same in international forums.